Dec 03, 2018

How to Make This the Best Year Ever!

Welcome to Ep 15 - the final episode for season one!  This episode is packed full of action and inspiration to make 2019 your best year ever by showing you how to reach your goals!  In this episode, I’m going to share with you action steps to turn 2018’s Word-of-the-Year of “burnout” into whatever it is that matches your aspirations for 2019 and how to make the new year better in both your professional and personal life.  I'm going to take you through three Burned-In Teacher action steps that you can apply to help you create the life and career that you want. 

  • The first is how to pick a word for the new year.  I've done this both with my Facebook group and I've done it personally before even starting Burned-In Teacher, and this process and your Word-of-the-Year are going to set you on a trajectory of insane success this year! 
  • Second, I’m going to walk you through some steps that I've learned from my friend Kim Strobel at We're going to talk about what steps you can take to create a vision board that is going to help you to take that Word-of-the-Year and make it visual.  
  • And third, we are addressing the question: What should I do to reach my goals? This final Burned-In Teacher action step we're going to take today is to talk about how you can create a plan of action for 2019 so that these words and these images don't just stay in your office or in your brain but that you actually live them out. 

Now I do have to add a quick disclaimer -  I did not create and invent these action steps. These are tools and strategies from mentors that I have found in my life. And although I've put my own spin on them, they originated from other people in my life who I look up to - which is also a great reminder for you to find those heroes. When you find those heroes, those people that inspire you in your life, you sometimes emulate their actions because living like a hero is going to turn you into one - I promise you. 


#1: Create a Word-of-the-Year

To pick a Word-of-the-Year, you are going something to write with, colored pencils/markers (so you can write your Word-of-the-Year loud and proud) and you’re going to need a journal.  My journal is where I’m documenting my action, my inspiration, and my goals; this is where I brain-dump everything that’s in my head about creating my plan for 2019.  I suggest having a journal dedicated to each year because they are great tools to use to reflect.  I now have two full years of my dreams, aspirations, and struggles documented for me to go back and look at to see how much I’ve grown when things get tough. 


Follow these steps to create your Word-of-the-Year: 

  1. “Blue Sky Brain-dump”: Like the blue sky, your possibilities are endless - so for this braindump, you are going to write down your biggest dreams and goals as both a teacher and your life outside of the classroom.  Think about what it is that you want for yourself in 2019 and beyond, these could be aspirations and dreams for yourself for the next 5 to 10 years. 
  2. Reflect on your previous year: Turn to a clean page and create a T-Chart.  On one side of the chart, you’re going to write down all the things that went well last year.  Think about the things taht brought you joy and that you’d like to celebrate. Then, on the other side of the chart, you are going to write down all the things that didn’t go well.  These could be things that gave you anxiety or stress, or maybe it’s something that let you down that you don’t want to relive again. 
  3. Decide what you’re going to say “Yes” and “No” to: Turn to a new piece of paper and create a new T-Chart.  Label one side as “YES” and then write down all the things you’re going to say “YES” to in the upcoming year.  Next, label the other label as “NO” and list all things you’re going to say “NO” to.  These two lists can be things you are literally saying “yes” and “no” to, or it could be metaphorically.  Keep in mind, this isn’t just about you as a teacher, this also pertains to your personal life.  What is it that you’ve been saying “yes” to that’s been adding stress to your life? What things can you say “no” to so you can say “yes” to other things? 
  4. List out your goals: Make a list of your professional goals and then a separate list of your personal goals. 
  5.  Create your Word-of-the-Year: This is going to take a little bit of thought and reflection.  Look back through all that you’ve written down from the last four steps and identify words that repeat and/or stick out to you.  Write these words down.  Then, from that list, choose the one word that resonates with you the most.  Once you’ve chosen your word, time to take out your colored pencils/markers and decorate and celebrate your Word-of-the-Year!


#2: Create a Vision Board 

After you have your Word-of-the-Year, you are ready to move on to Burned-In Teacher Action Step #2 - create a vision board.  

These steps come from Kim’s free downloadable ebook called Vision Boards and the Law of Attraction: Five Steps to Creating a Life You Love. What I’m sharing with you starts on page 22 where she starts with the materials and steps you need as well as tips on how to create the best vision board for you, but the pages that precede this section of her ebook are filled with action and inspiration! This ebook is so worth the read! 

Kim Strobel was a guest on the podcast - she is a happiness coach and talks a lot about facing our fears and finding happiness in our life. If you're curious about who Kim Strobel is and what it is that she does, check out Episode 3 or go to for more information.


Steps to create your vision board (Inspired by Kim Strobel):

  • First, you need to gather your materials.  Kim suggests getting a poster board for all the inspiring images you’ll be placing on it.  Also, you’ll want to grab some scissors and glue, and maybe some makers or stickers that could inspire some inspirational quotes.  You’ll also want to find some magazines, motivational quotes, or pictures of things that you really cherish or things that you to repeat in the upcoming year. Give yourself about an hour to do this, and then share it with your family and friends! 
  • Second, you’re going to collect data - this is where you’re going to choose quotes, images of where you want to go, photos of people you admire, and other visual reminders of what you want to see and bring more of into your life.  Keep in mind that this can be an ongoing collection. 
  • Third, after you’ve collected all the images and quotes of what you want to see come into your life, arrange and categorize them by the area of your life they connect with.  
  • Fourth, decorate!  Once you have everything arranged into the different places that you want on your board, glue/tape them down.  Next, get creative - paint or draw some whimsical designs, or write inspirational words or sentiments. 
  • Fifth, decide where this board is going to live. This board really needs to be hung somewhere where you're going to see it daily - multiple times daily - so hang it in a place where you will pass it several times.  Kim has one vision board in her bedroom and one in her office so she is constantly being reminded of her goals and aspirations for the year ahead. 

If you are not a cut-and-paste kind of person, I’ve got you covered! Kim calls it a “digital vision board”.  I love Google, so I definitely plan on using either Google Slides or Google Drawings to make my vision board! I will definitely be posting what I create in the Burned-In Teacher Facebook Group, and I encourage you to share yours as well!  This is a great way to connect with others and share your dreams so you find the support you need to reach your goals!


#3:Create a Plan of Action

How do you reach your goals? You take ACTION!

Burned-In Teachers, you are now in the third step, and I have been so excited to talk to you about this third step called “Plan Your Best Year Ever”. This step was actually inspired by a webinar that I attended called “Your Year on the Wall” by a wonderful woman named Steph Crowder from The Courage and Clarity Podcast. I consider her to be a business mentor, and I've taken part in one of her courses a couple of months back, and I've been listening to her podcast for years. 

I really respect her belief that we can't just have a strategy and we can't just make plans, we have to hear other people's stories about what they have gone through in order to get where they are in business. That's actually where the inspiration for The Burned-In Teacher Podcast came from - Steph set up an opportunity for listeners of The Courage and Clarity Podcast to share their experiences about being an entrepreneur to help other entrepreneurs on their own journey. Sound familiar?  But back to planning your best 2019 ever!


Steps to creating your plan of action (Inspired by Steph Crowder):

  1. Collect the following materials: Your Word-of-the-Year, your vision board, a planner (paper or digital), and a large wall calendar (I found mine on Amazon).  If you are planning on putting the large calendar on your wall, then you'll also need a set of different colors of sticky notes.
  2. Dream big!  Coincidentally, you've already done this first step because we've already done our “Blue Sky Brain-Dump”, identified our Word-of-the-Year, and created our vision board.  We’ve already written down what did and didn’t go well last year and what we’re going to say “yes” and “no” to in the upcoming year. 
  3. Plot it out! Using the paper planner, plot out when you’ll prepare to execute the plans you made for yourself in the upcoming year. Get messy!  I use my paper planner to make sure that I’m well-planned for when I create my “Year on the Wall” (from Steph Crowder), but I do so with what Steph calls guided flexibility.  This means that while I may start out with a plan, I have to allow for some changes as my year goes on so I can grow my ideas and plans as things evolve in my life. 
  4. Boil it down! Break your dreams and goals into smaller tasks that need to be completed in order to make what you want, happen.  If you are using large calendars on your wall, this is where you can use the colored sticky notes to see what tasks you need to complete and when so you can do what you need to to set yourself up for success!  


That's it! Use these steps to create your vision and your plan to make this your best year ever!  



  1. Identify your Word-of-the-Year (check out my resource on TpT!)
  2. Create your vision board. Whether it’s on paper or digital, create a visual representation of what you want to see, have, or experience in the upcoming year. 
  3. Make a plan of action! Break your goals down into smaller tasks and add when you’ll compete for each step in your planner. 





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